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StoreFront Mall: The Great end to a Startup Horror Story

The year is AD 2020, a time in the history of mankind that is going down as one of the most challenging eras. Expectations were very high for 2020, as most of us were excited to be reliving a new decade. But little did we know that 2020 had a mind of its own, and some few tricks up its sleeve…

When COVID-19 reared its ugly head in Wuhan, China, this year, we all thought it was very far away. I mean it’s Asia people! We will watch the news on TV, hear about the innumerable death tolls, sigh in wonder, and go about our normal daily activities. Such was our norm until we started reporting cases; the Corona Virus had arrived at our shores…

An executive order was quickly issued for social distancing protocols to be put in place. But when the numbers started peaking, there was the need for a partial lockdown, and that’s when we knew something nasty had hit the fan…

As a tech company, we at KudiGo Inc were very much used to the remote working culture. Whereas many companies had to adjust to the idea, we picked up our laptops and continued to work from home, providing the needed support for our merchants, as if nothing had happened. However, what we didn’t anticipate was some of our merchants taking a direct hit from this whole lockdown business. With people focusing their purchasing power on food stuffs, and home essentials, other businesses that were considered “non-essential’’ had to take the back seat! What’s worse, these businesses had to shut down for the period of the lockdown, till further notice…

You know that slow motion moment in a movie, when a building is being raised down by fire? That was almost the feeling after one week into lockdown. We saw the slow decline in activities of merchants from our monitoring portal. We couldn’t pretend we did not know the cause, and doing business “as usual” was not even an option. This was a crisis waiting to happen and we weren’t going to stand around and tumble over a cliff! We needed to suit up and come up with an intervention as soon as possible.

KudiGo Inc is a retail tech startup, key word being startup! With a status as ours, our survival as a business mainly depended on raising funds to support our ideas, until we started rolling in the returns. But this pandemic is a storm that has set the entire world into chaos, everybody is looking out for themselves. This is definitely not the time to throw in a raft to a startup to help them stay afloat? Does it even make business sense? Any hope of some form of intervention was some months away, and it was certainly risky to bank on that.

So standing at the brink of a crisis, and looking at how far we had come as a business, do we let go and sink? What about our merchants? If we go under, we’re taking all of them with us. So for their sakes, we decided to swim hard against the tide with all that we had. Fortunately for us, we found a “lifeboat” and for weeks we rolled faster and harder, with all hands on deck…

Our labour in the crisis room finally paid off, and the idea of StoreFront Mall was birthed. StoreFront Mall is now a fully fledged online marketplace which allows businesses, especially retailers to create their own online store, accept payments and make deliveries with no hassle. Any business operating from Ghana and Nigeria, with a physical or online store, operating a service or offering a product is eligible to use the online platform.

In partnership with Bolt, Snoocode and other payment partners, KudiGo is offering StoreFront Mall as a full platform as a service, to any business that needs to have an online presence.

Alas, this is the very great end to our startup horror story! Despite all the odds that were against us, we did not not relax on our oars. Today, we have created an online platform that ensures that the average retailer is always open for business come what may! This is to supporting local businesses, and to impacting retail businesses in Africa.

Is this the end though? No! There will definitely be sequels to this incredible story in the near future!

https://youtu.be/dumd3RqNTrY


StoreFront Mall: The Great end to a Startup Horror Story was originally published in KudiGo Inc on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.